Story Lab

Narrative Futuring to enhance flourishing in precarious and complex worlds

This is an exemplary project of the <Imagining resilience in complex worlds of care and technology> research line.

This project develops theory, research and methodology for studying and enhancing human flourishing in precarious and complex worlds, based on future stories. It takes as point of departure that optimal human functioning in a sustainable way that simultaneously warrants and enhances flourishing of the environment is of the utmost importance. A narrative futuring approach, based on a future-forming epistemology and a social-constructivist methodology, is proposed as answer to this challenge. The urgency of the issue of flourishing comes from the recognition that flourishing is under pressure all over the world. In Europe, for example, the impact of the socio-economic crisis in the lives of many citizens is very real. Two research projects in Greece address this impact:

1) Letters from the Future as decision aid prior to the Greek Referendum in 2015;

2) focus groups with unemployed youth visualize and reflect on their desired futures.

Closer to home, the Western-European context of an apparent higher material welfare, does not guarantee optimal human functioning either. Of the manifold constraints to reaching full potential, our capacity to imagine believable and desirable future selves stands out as a historically and psychologically challenging concern. This capacity and its constraints, considered to be an interaction between cognitive capacity and environmental affordances (cultural, social, physical, educational etc.), is subject of investigation in several pilot studies, e.g.:

1) using paradoxical tasks such as imagining a desired future without paid work;

2) co-creating future stories by professionals and experiential experts envisioning a more humane care/justice system;

3) psychiatric patients imagining their desired futures;

Partners: Dr.Sofia Trivilia and colleagues (University of Crete, Greece), Prof. Dr. Maria Borcsa and Egle Narasciute Msc (applied university of Nordhausen, Germany), Prof. dr Ephrat Huss (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel), dr. Miltos Hadjiosif (University of the West of England, UK), Olivia Glebbeek (documentary maker), Mariette van Tuyll (Mediant, mental health organization).

Years: on-going

Contact: Anneke Sools